Windows

Condensation can be a real problem in a home, especially during cooler times of year. When air is maxed out beyond its saturation point, it can no longer support the humidity level and water begins to condensate on a cool surface such as windows. This, of course, leads to problems in the home, such as mold growth if not monitored or controlled properly.

The Window & Door Manufacturers Association says that in some cases, condensation may be more prevalent today then it used to be. In older houses, the insulation, weather-stripping and other house tightening factors allowed the house to breathe and exchange drier air with inside more humid air. It also states that windows were also not so airtight and caused colder air to enter the house and caused the window surface to be colder.

With the energy efficiency movements sweeping the home market, these breathable access points have been eliminated by more tightly secured products and windows. Sure the home may feel more comfortable, but the humid air is now being trapped inside. Showers, cooking, dishwashers, poorly insulated crawl spaces, new building materials and even breathing all adds humidity to the home. So what can be done about all this humidity?

After determining the humidity level of a home, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association has these suggestions:

  • Make sure the humidifier is working correctly. Turn it down as the weather becomes colder.
  • Vent all appliances and vents to the outside.
  • Vent attic and crawl spaces.
  • Cover the earth in a crawl space with a vapor barrier.
  • Run exhaust fans while cooking or bathing.
  • Make sure the home is properly ventilated by installing a fresh intake for a forced air furnace.
  • Don’t store firewood inside.
  • As a temporary solution, try opening windows a little each day to allow the exchange of colder, drier air with warmer, more humid air.
  • Install energy-efficient windows.

Energy efficient windows can be a very important aspect of energy savings for a home. By not allowing cold air to infiltrate the home, the inside surface does not cool down to allow condensation. Double- or triple-glazed windows have spacers between glazing that doesn’t grant cold air the ability to move through them and cool. Also, Low-E glass contains special metallic coatings that reflects radiant heat, keeping heat inside in the cooler periods and outside when its hotter.

By using energy-efficient windows, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association suggests the interior glass surfaces will remain warmer, reducing the number of interior cool surfaces and condensation. This is good news for homeowners and bad news for mold.

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